Samuel S. Holland became dean of Meadows School of the Arts at SMU in November 2014. He is also the school’s Algur H. Meadows Chair and a professor of music.
Sam Holland has provided strong leadership to the Meadows School in both teaching and administrative roles for more than 20 years. He joined the Meadows music faculty in 1991, initially serving as head of piano pedagogy and director of the Piano Preparatory Department. In subsequent years, he served as head of the Department of Keyboard Studies and Pedagogy, associate chair and chair ad interim of the Division of Music, associate director for academic affairs of the Meadows School, director of the Division of Music from 2010-2014 and dean ad interim from July to November 2014. His teaching at SMU has included piano pedagogy, studio piano, computers and keyboards, jazz piano and piano master classes.
Holland is co-founder and executive director of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, Inc., a nonprofit educational institution in New Jersey. He is executive director of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and Clavier Companion magazine. He also chairs the Committee on Ethics of the Texas Association of Music Schools. Holland is the author or co-author of more than 70 critically acclaimed method and repertoire collections with major publishers. He is internationally active as a performer and lecturer at music conferences and festivals and has served as founder and executive of national professional conferences and journals. At the international level, Holland has provided leadership for music workshops and lecture/demonstrations in countries including England, Spain, Australia, Hungary, Norway and Canada. He has represented the Meadows Division of Music on visits to the U.K., Japan, Australia, Shanghai, Spain and the Peoples’ Republic of China.
Holland earned his Bachelor of Music in applied music cum laude from The University of Texas at Austin, followed by a Master of Music in applied music with highest honors at the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in music education with an emphasis in piano pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma.
Under Holland’s leadership, the Meadows Division of Music was named the No. 1 music program in the United States in the 2014 College Factual rankings, as reported in USA Today. Holland has been honored with the Texas Music Teachers Association Outstanding Collegiate Teaching Award and the Dean’s Prize of Meadows School of the Arts. In 2015, he was named Teacher of the Year by the 22,000-member Music Teachers National Association (MTNA); the award is given annually to a music teacher who goes “far beyond the call of duty to exemplify excellence in music teaching.” In 2018, he received the MTNA’s highest honor — its Achievement Award, recognizing his work with the nonprofit Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, which he co-founded and led for 20 years.